Free Study Guide: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton - Free BookNotes

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When Pony wakes up in the church the next morning, he finds that Johnny has left him a message scrawled in the dusty floor. He says he went to get supplies and will return soon. Pony thinks about the events of the previous night, and he starts trembling and sweating. Johnny soon returns with soap, peroxide, and enough food for a week, just as Dally had suggested. Johnny also brings a paperback of Gone with the Wind; he remembered that Pony had wanted his own copy of the book. Johnny suggests that Pony read the book aloud, helping to pass the time for both of them. The next four days are spent in reading, playing poker, and smoking heavily, but they cannot hide the fact that they are lonely, miserable, frightened, and homesick. In an attempt to disguise themselves, they change their appearance. Even though they hate to do it, they both cut off their long hair, and Pony bleaches his.

On the fifth day, Dally comes to visit Pony and Johnny. He gives Pony a letter from Soda, who says that Darry is sorry for hitting him and is worried about where he is. Dally is also full of news. He tells his friends that their photographs have appeared in the newspaper, but he has lied and told the police that the two of them headed for Texas; Dally was trying to keep the law out of Windrixville. He also tells them about the all-out war the Socs have declared against the Greasers. Two-Bit had been attacked, but Darry and Dally arrived in time to save him. Supposedly on the next night, there is to be a huge rumble to settle the score between the two gangs. He finally adds that Cherry is now spying on the Socs for the Greasers.


Johnny continues to be the one who is in control. When he awakens in the church, he scribbles a note of explanation on the dusty floor and then goes to get supplies for Pony and himself, as Dally had directed. When Pony awakens, he tries to deny the reality of what has happened the previous night. He pretends that he is safe within the confines of his house; but the reality overwhelms him and causes him to sweat and tremble.

When Johnny returns, he has supplies for a week. He has also thoughtfully purchased a copy of Gone with the Wind, remembering that Pony liked the book. In addition, he is the one who suggests that they read the book aloud to help pass the time; and finally, it is he who thinks of cutting their hair to change their appearance. It is not easy for either Johnny or Pony to have short hair, for their long, greasy hair has always been a symbol of who they are. Pony says, “We couldn’t have Corvairs or madras shirts, but we could have hair.”

The boys begin to read Gone with the Wind. Johnny is surprised to find that he likes it; he is impressed with the charm, manners, and gallantry of the Southern gentlemen. He tells Pony that Dally also possesses such gallantry. Pony disagrees, for he does not really like Dally and knows that he does not possess Soda’s understanding ways, Two-Bit’s humor, or Darry’s superman qualities. Pony and Johnny also spend time talking to each other. When Pony tells how he likes sunsets and sunrises, a fact that he shares with few people, Johnny admits he appreciates them as well. When Pony recites a poem by Robert Frost, entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Johnny understands the words and their meaning. He feels that the gold is a symbol of beauty, purity and innocence, qualities that are hard to retain.

When Dally comes to see them on the fifth day, three things are established. First, Soda and Darry are clearly concerned about their youngest brother; Soda has even taken the time to write a letter to Pony and to send it by Dally. Secondly, the police are searching for Johnny and Pony, whose pictures have appeared in the newspaper; Dally has tried to keep the law out of Windrixville by telling the police that his two friends were headed for Texas. Finally, the tension between the Greasers and the Socs has increased since Bob’s murder. In fact, it is so intense that Dally has started carrying an unloaded gun, which he hopes will frighten the Socs and keep them away. This gun will later play an important part in the tragedy that is slowly unfolding.

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